Saudi Arabis’s Tourism Development Fund singed a deal with two local banks to finance tourism projects in the kingdom worth $42.7bn (SAR160bn).

The kingdom is the home to gigaprojects that are not just driving the nation’s tourism sector, but helping the country achieve its Vision 2030 agenda. These projects include the $500bn (SAR1.9tn) NEOM; the 28,000km2 The Red Sea Project; the 366km2 Qiddiya entertainment city; the $17.1bn (SAR64.1bn) Diriyah Gate; as well as the 4,155km2 AMAALA.

The financing deals were singed in the presence of Saudi Minister of Tourism and chairman of the fund’s board of directors, Ahmad Al-Khateeb by the Tourism Development Fund’s CEO, Qusai Al-Fakhri with the CEO of Riyadh Bank Tareq Al-Sadhan, and the managing director and CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi, Rayan Fayez, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The deals are based on the setting up financing programmes to support and develop the tourism sector in the kingdom.

The statement by SPA said: “This agreement includes defining ways of cooperation between the fund and the participating banks by setting up mechanisms to support financing tourism projects in various regions of the Kingdom.”

Additionally, the deal will also help stimulate investments in the tourism sector and support the private sector, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by providing various financial products. These products include multiple credit facilities and financial guarantees in partnership with commercial banks designed to serve a large number of investor segments in the tourism sector to facilitate financing operations for tourism projects.

Commenting on the deal, Al-Fakhri said: “This agreement constitutes an essential step toward supporting and developing tourism projects in the Kingdom.”

He added that the role and commitment of the fund to support and develop the tourism sector continued by stimulating investment and building a solid relationship with banks and financial institutions, which would create distinct investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Riyadh Bank said that the partnership will enhance the role of banks in supporting the private sector, including small and medium enterprises, and enabling the development of tourism projects in the Kingdom. He stated: “The tourism sector is one of the most important sectors that support the economy.”

Fayez said that the agreement coincides with the effective role of banks in achieving the objectives of the tourism sector, which is one of the most promising sectors for investment, and will be the beginning of an effective partnership with the fund, which will contribute to creating investment opportunities in the Kingdom.

He pointed out that these agreements play an important role in creating tourism projects and destinations, which in turn contribute to achieving the goals of the National Tourism Strategy, which aims to increase the contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP from 3 to 10%, provide one million new jobs, and receive 100 million local and international visitors by 2030.